Over an eight-week period in the summer of 2013, the New Museum dedicated its Fifth Floor gallery space to “XFR STN” (Transfer Station), an open-door artist-centered media archiving project.
“XFR STN” initially arose from the need to preserve the Monday/Wednesday/Friday Video Club distribution project. MWF was a co- op “store” of the artists ́ group Colab (Collaborative Projects, Inc.), directed by Alan Moore and Michael Carter from 1986–2000, which showed and sold artists’ and independent films and videos on VHS at consumer prices.
The “XFR STN” at the New Museum also addressed the wider need in the community of artists for access to media capture and migration services as a means to preserve creative productions stored in aging and obsolete audiovisual and digital formats. In addition to digitizing a portion of MWF Video Club’s collection (which was housed in a storage unit in Staten Island), the “XFR STN” was also used to preserve various materials from the New Museum’s own rich archive (including video formats such as U-matic and VHS tapes). Finally, in keeping with the original aims of the MWF Video Club, “XFR STN” was open to anyone with artist-originated moving image or born-digital materials. The exhibition/lab operated publically, informally exhibiting the material that was transferred, as well as rendering it available online through the Internet Archive (archive.org), an non-profit organization whose mission includes offering permanent access to historical collections that exist in digital format for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public.
Consistent with the dictum “distribution is preservation,” the “XFR STN” project argues for circulation as a mode of conservation. “XFR STN” served as a collection and dissemination point for artist-produced content, as well as a hub for information about these past projects (including production materials and personal recollections). The project was both a pragmatic public service and an activity as metaphor: an opportunity to present aspects of a mediatic production process in continuous dynamic transformation.
“XFR STN” at the New Museum is project by Alan W. Moore with Taylor Moore, Alexis Bhagat, and the artists of Collaborative Projects. It is organized by Johanna Burton, Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement, with Ben Fino-Radin, Digital Conservator, Rhizome; Tara Hart, Digital Archivist, New Museum; and Jen Song, Associate Director of Education, New Museum.
Monday/Wednesday/Friday Video Club